7 Ways To Give Mom A Free Day
How to Give
Giving is extremely rewarding, and most of us really want to lend a helping hand. Lending a helping hand doesn’t have to mean giving money. Everyone can donate their time, compassion, or even patience to someone else. To get started on a giving journey, think about the different things you have to give (money, possessions, time, compassion), and focus on ways to make giving a habit. Then, jump into action by giving your time as a volunteer, donating goods or money, giving to friends and family, and furthering your giving mindset.
Donating Money or Possessions to Charity
Donate old clothing and household goods to charity.Most homes are filled with items that go unused all year round. By donating old items to charity, you can declutter your space and contribute to a good cause all at once! There are many national and local organizations that will accept your old household items (from clothing to kitchen appliances to furniture) and give them to those in need.
- Consider donating to your local Goodwill, which operates as a kind of thrift shop and provides job training to the unemployed. In 2019, Goodwill placed more than 288,000 people into jobs through extensive job training efforts.
- You could also donate to the Salvation Army, which provides disaster relief and help to the homeless; Vietnam Veterans of America, which helps veterans; Operation Give, which distributes supplies abroad; or any number of national and local organizations.
Gather up old books to give to literacy projects.Most of the books on our bookshelves sit there, lonely and unopened, for years at a time. Declutter your bookshelves and put your books to good use in the fight for global literacy. Many local, national, and even international organizations will accept your books and donate them to kids and adults who are learning to read, or provide them to people who don’t have access to new books, like soldiers or prisoners.
- International Book Project, the Global Literacy Project, and Darien Book Project are a few examples of organizations fighting for literacy in the US and abroad.
- Books Through Bars sends books to prisoners, while Books for Soldiers directs books overseas to US military.
Give away old electronics, professional clothes or sports equipment to specialized non-profits.If you think something couldn’t possibly be useful to an organization, think again. There are thousands upon thousands of organizations coming up with ways to recycle and treasure old items, and you can help them fulfill their missions with your old stuff.
- Instead of sending old electronics to the landfill, you can give old video games to Games for Heroes, computer supplies to World Computer Exchange, and even used cell phones to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
- For old sports equipment, you can donate to a number of organizations, including Bicycles for Humanity, One World Running, and Bikes for the World.
- Donate old suits to Career Gear, Dress for Success, or the Women’s Alliance, to help provide professional clothing to low-income individuals who are job searching.
Contribute money to charity regularly if you have the extra funds.If you have gotten to a point in your life where you are comfortably earning and spending money without debt, try establishing a giving allowance in your monthly budget. Maybe you can cut down on personal spending in one area, like dining out or buying to-go coffees, to find some extra giving money.
Chip in to disaster relief efforts in times of crisis.Whenever there is a tsunami, an earthquake, or any other kind of natural disaster, multiple organizations will spring into action to provide relief in the affected areas. Be on the lookout for ways you can help, like donating money, clothes, or food, whenever something shows up in the news that will affect a lot of people.
- You want to make sure the money you’re donating is going to as many people as possible, so research the track record and the effectiveness of the charity you’re donating to.
Giving Your Time as a Volunteer
Find sporadic volunteer opportunities if you have a busy schedule.A hectic schedule can make volunteering seem intimidating, but you really only need a couple of hours for many volunteer opportunities. For example, you could volunteer at a park or beach clean-up, spend a few hours organizing cans at a food pantry, or spend a weekend working on a habitat house.
- VolunteerMatch.org, Idealist.org, and HandsOn Network are all good websites to search for volunteer opportunities in your area.
- When political campaigns are going on, you can volunteer your time to support a local candidate in an election. All campaigns need people to man the phones and help others register to vote.
- A lot of volunteering organizations aren’t going to be picky about how much time you give them. They will appreciate a few hours here and there if you’re doing good work.
Find recurring volunteer positions to give back to your community.Going back week after week is the best way to get invested in a cause and build relationships with those you are working for and serving.Search online sites like Volunteer Match for recurring tutoring gigs, teaching fellowships, or fundraising positions at local and national organizations.
- Choose volunteer jobs that take advantage of your talents. For example, if you’re musical, you could sing or play at nursing homes. With sports skills, you can coach a sport on a volunteer basis, perhaps working with special needs kids or underserved communities.
Inquire about volunteer positions at local non-profits.Call or email local non-profits, working on issues like poverty, homelessness, or animal welfare in your area, and ask if there are ways you can help. Some national organizations, like the YMCA and the Red Cross, consistently need volunteers and are great places to engage with your community.
- On top of being a great way to give back, volunteering can also give you invaluable experience working in a field or cause you’re excited about.
- Volunteering can also be a good way to see if certain career paths would be a good fit for you. Volunteering in hospitals, for example, could help you decide whether you might in the future want to pursue medicine.
Serve in a full-time volunteer position, like the Peace Corps.It is possible to spend 1-2 years working full-time in a volunteer position. These kinds of positions allow you to make a more sustainable impact on people than once-a-week volunteering jobs. In the Peace Corps, volunteers spend two years in another country, working on a specific sector of development, like education, health, or agriculture.
- Teach for America is a well recognized volunteer organization in the US, where volunteers spend two years working as teachers in public schools and receive teacher training.
- To make an impact on a place that is sustainable, it is important to do your research, work with a quality organization, and spend time getting to know a place before you jump in to help.
- Be wary of “voluntourism,” or going to other countries for short periods of time to serve, which sometimes does more harm than good.
Sharing Gifts with Friends and Family
Give friends and family gifts on holidays or birthdays.Even though material gifts aren't the most important thing you can give a person, a carefully selected present can brighten a holiday or birthday. Pay attention to what your friends, family, and significant others enjoy in their daily life and use that knowledge to give them personal gifts.
- Think about what food and drinks your friend loves. For example, if your friend is a total coffee lover, you can buy them really quality coffee beans.
- Think about other things your friend enjoys, like certain books or movies, and come up with gifts that relate to those. You could get them a Princess Bride T-Shirt or a pair of Game of Thrones socks, for example.
- When you can't think of something personal, go with something classic, like ice-cream or flowers.
Make your friends homemade gifts for an affordable, personal option.If giving a gift to a close friend, create a photo collage, make them a CD mix with songs you both love, or write them a poem about your friendship. Making gifts yourself shows you put in effort into the gift giving process, and your friend, teacher, parent, or sibling will definitely appreciate it.
Purchase small trinkets to give to friends when you’re traveling.This can be a nice way to let people know you were thinking about them on your journey. To make it more special, buy something you know the person will value, like a painting, or get them something they can eat or drink, like tea or coffee.
- Most people don’t want to accumulate a bunch of random trinkets, so choose something special that you know your friend will enjoy.
Give special gifts randomly and “just because.” Sometimes there’s nothing better than receiving a gift just because someone thought of you. For instance, if you see a book your friend has been talking about wanting to read, you could buy it for them as a surprise.
- Letters, postcards, and care packages are another great “just-because” kind of gift to give someone. Especially if you are far from a friend, these items can help you communicate and stay connected.
- You can also give your friends “rainy-day” gifts for when they’re not doing too well. If you know your friend’s favorite ice cream flavor, give them a carton of that ice cream on a bad day to make that person smile.
Practicing Giving Daily
Provide support to people in your life.When you have the ability to help someone through a difficult time, be there for them in whatever way you can. You can provide support by listening, driving someone somewhere they need to go, offering advice, or comforting them when they’re sad.
- Always be honest when giving advice. If you have no experience with the difficulty the other person is dealing with, say so.
- Or, just listen. Oftentimes, people simply need a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on.
Give praise to those who deserve it.Everyone needs a little encouragement sometimes. Giving an honest word of praise without being prompted can help boost the receiver's self-esteem and self-confidence, even on a bad day.
- The praise you give should always be honest. Insincere praise can do more harm than good.
Show patience with people and loved ones.Even the best of people will have an “off” day every now and then. Do your best to be understanding and patient with someone in a bad mood. The gift of patience might be exactly what that person needs to calm down.
- If you find that patience is impossible for you at some point in time, consider stepping away from the situation. Spend some time calming yourself down before dealing with this person again.
Grant respect and kindness to the people around you.Respect and kindness are two of the most basic gifts you can give someone, and they’re also two of the most important. Show respect and kindness to everyone, not just to people who are “above you” in a hierarchy or who are your elders. Treat everyone, from a homeless man on the corner to a CEO with respect and compassion.
- Treat people with sincerity. Don't answer seriousness with sarcasm.
- Any action meant to demean or cut someone down should be left behind.
- Empathizing with others can help you treat them with kindness. Consider people’s situations and empathize with the fact that people can have hard days.
Develop a generous attitude towards others.To further your giving mindset, take note of reasons you have to be grateful, maintain a positive attitude, and spend time with generous people. It’s important to believe in your own ability to positively impact the lives of others. Giving will be easier if you trust that your contribution will make a difference.
- For daily practice, try writing down three things you are grateful for each day in a journal.
- Friends and family influence you more than you might realize. When you surround yourself with generous people, their giving nature will begin to rub off on you.
If you want to give to others, start small by volunteering or donating money to a charitable organization you support. If you're not sure what cause to give to, do some research to find a charity that you feel strongly about. To find money to donate, try giving up your daily cup of coffee or skipping lunch with a friend, and use the time and money toward helping others. Then, make a routine out of donating your time as well as money, so that it becomes a habit and gets easier with practice.
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